The cognitive control of behavior was long considered to be centralized in cerebral cortex. More recently, subcortical structures such as cerebellum and basal ganglia have been implicated in cognitive functions as well. The fact that subcortico-cortical circuits for the control of movement involve the thalamus prompts the notion that activity in movement-related thalamus may also reflect elements of cognitive behavior. Yet this hypothesis has rarely been investigated. Using the pathways linking cerebellum to cerebral cortex via the thalamus as a template, we review evidence that the motor thalamus, together with movement-related central thalamus have the requisite connectivity and activity to mediate cognitive aspects of movement control.
Keywords: central thalamus; cerebellum; cognition; executive control; language; motor thalamus; thalamus; timing.